Injured, Inelegant and In the Way
If you’ve had the misfortune to bump into me on campus since the beginning of term then I’d like to apologise. Not because I’ve done anything particularly heinous (other than a few of my usual crimes against fashion), or even that I’ve been particularly objectionable to be around. It’s more that for the past 6 weeks, thanks to a pair of crutches and one giant grey aircast boot, I have been pretty much the clumsiest person at Holloway. In fairness, I was pretty clumsy before, but unfortunately I’ve found that Holloway isn’t exactly the easiest place to navigate on anything but two sturdy feet (or if you have nice friends with cars, four sturdy wheels).
Every time I’ve ventured onto campus this term, I’ve had to avoid the uneven paths and steep inclines in the woods. If I want to get anywhere without being completely short of breath and/or ending up face first in the pond, I have walked from Gowar and Wedderburn, up to the SU, passed the International Building and towards Founders. Some buildings don’t have easy access, and every time I use a lift I feel self-conscious, especially in quiet spaces like Bedford library – the lift makes such a noise in the silent section that I feel like everyone is looking at me as I hunt for my books.
There are, however, two upsides to my crutches-based experience. First, my arms are now more toned than they ever were while I was playing rugby. One relative even suggested that I should keep hold of one crutch, because apparently I’ll be “beating them off with a stick” when it turns to short sleeves season in Summer. Although this does a) suggest they have a lack of knowledge of certain common euphemisms, b) haven’t recognised my extreme social awkwardness, and c) have forgotten my already ‘coupled’ status.
The other plus side has been my rediscovery of just what a great university RHUL is. The amount of people who’ve held open doors for me, helped me reach things on shelves, paused so I can pass them in corridors, or picked up the change I’ve dropped in the college shop, is now more than I can count. So I’d not just like to say sorry. I’d like to say thanks. Because however hard campus is to get around, plenty of people have helped to make it that little bit easier.